The latest snapshot of population movements courtesy of the 2011 census shows again the cities are getting bigger and some regional areas are getting smaller.
That comes as no surprise, but highlights again the need for positive policies to grow regional areas.
While Armidale, Gunnedah, Inverell and Tamworth recorded population increases ranging from 3.1 per cent to 5 per cent since the last census, Narrabri and Moree showed population declines.
These communities have explained away the losses as more to do with people not participating in the process rather than families loading up the car and leaving town.
They say rental properties are non-existent and job vacancies hard to find.
In these communities at least, the argument over the accuracy of the figures will continue, but from a regional perspective more needs to be done to press the state government to grow regional communities.
Sydney continues to grow at a steady pace, although its growth rate of 6.6 per cent is significantly less than Melbourne.
But even at 6.6 per cent Sydney remains under pressure, with housing and transport issues causing the greatest concerns.
While the NSW government says it is working on the issues associated with population growth, the same effort is not being applied to how it can help with the growth of regional areas.
Surely, regional NSW is part of the solution to the constant growth pressures being applied to Sydney.
Where are the decentralisation policies?
The government says that during the past 12 months it has “been working to deliver its commitments and build the infrastructure needed to make regional NSW number-one again”.
But to date there is little to show for that commitment.
It talks about creating up to 40,000 new jobs in regional NSW courtesy of payroll tax rebates, but apart from the mining sector the rest of the state is barely moving.
Where are the policies to move businesses, industries and jobs out of Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong, and into regional centres?
There is a real opportunity for this government to build some important regional centres with targeted policies which are specific in their nature.